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Harman's new JBL On Time Micro (http://www.jbl.com) is an attractive, compact, alarm-clock docking station that's compatible with all versions of the iPod, iPhone, MP3 and CD players, and desktop and laptop computers. The newest JBL time machine comes equipped with some sweet JBL technology and features a sleek, user-friendly design.
The US$249.99 system combines an iPod dock, charging station, alarm clock and speaker system in one device. As with almost all Harman/JBL products I've test-driven it's a sweet package with surprisingly good sound for such a compact device.
I only need one alarm in the morning. I sleep until the alarm goes off, then I rise and shine (or at least rise). My wife, on the other hand, likes to hit the snooze button. Again. And again. And again. She's one of those folks who will love the On Time Micro's seven (yep, seven) separate alarms.
As you'd expect with a product from JBL, the multi-function device sports easy-to-use touch controls. The touch-sensitive volume and mute controls are very responsive. As it's designed as a bedside companion, the large backlit LCD and automatic dimming are nice touches. And the latest model fixes most gripes I've had with some previous incarnations (mainly, the lack of a remote and dimming features) of the On Time.
As for sound, the On Time Micro has surprisingly rich audio and relatively deep bass. It won't replace your high-end speakers (nor is it meant to), but the JBL technologies included --
Realistic Dynamics Live, tonal accuracy and spatial transparency -- serve up a rich audio soundstage when used in stereo and multichannel applications.
And, of course, as with all JBL products, it's gorgeous with its curvy, sleek design. Since it has a 3.5mm mini-stereo jack, you can also connect it to your Mac or other devices. The On Time provides 2.6 watts of power and 70-20Hz frequency response. It measures 8 x 8 x 4-9/16 inches and weighs 1.8 pounds.
One trifling complaint: I found it a bit cumbersome to "save" my radio settings when using the radio features. However, once they were set, things worked elegantly. Also, if you want various color choices, you're out of luck. The OnTime Micro is only available in black and silver.
Macsimum rating: 9 out of 10.